Cliche of the Week 3 – Shallow Grave

June 14, 2010 at 12:44 am 9 comments

Bodies are so often found in a shallow grave that if one is ever found in a deep hole this fact surely will be the stuff of headlines.

This cliché, a standard from the crime reporter’s breathless word list, is rarely followed by a definition of the depth of the hole.

In April this year, a 12-year-old girl in Jamaica dug herself from where her would-be killer buried her after thinking he had strangled her to death. No mention on the size of the hole but it must have been shallow enough.

 A murder trial in Adelaide in March this year had a woman’s body at 1.2 metres, a depth indicating planning and digging tools. Not so shallow.

 Around six per cent of the 2,650 shallow grave bodies reported in the last three months were dumped.

 “A father-of-three was hit over the head, smothered with a pillow and then dumped in a shallow grave by the two men accused of murdering him.” (February 3, The Daily Express)

Infrequent usage in sports stories make this digestible: “The Giants lost another one-run game in which their bats couldn’t dig the team out of a shallow grave.” (August 19, 2009, San Jose Mercury News)

Read Cliche of the Week in The Australian newspaper.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Cliche of The Week. Tags: , , , .

Gripping cliches Cliche of the Week 4 – Working Families

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kevin Price  |  June 14, 2010 at 8:14 am

    A grave, according to Oxford, is a hole dug in the ground to receive a coffin or corpse. The ‘standard’ grave depth (is/used to be) six feet (1.8 metres) and I believe that as many as three bodies could be buried in strata, allowing approximately half a metre for each stratum, which means the one nearest the surface is buried at about 800 cm. About 400mm is needed for a standard coffin, and one presumes there needs to be some covering of earth between strata.

    Perhaps we can extrapolate that a shallow grave is one that is not this deep. But be prepared for a new twist on this.

    The funerals industry has ‘defined’ a shallow grave in its ‘standards’ for green or eco funerals. For a green funeral, the grave does not receive a coffin, but a corpse wrapped in muslin, and it is buried in a ‘shallow’ grave because that facilitates faster decomposition. This is thought to be at a depth of about one metre or less. But not so shallow that it would attract wildlife.

    I’m gonna go green.

    Reply
    • 2. chrispash  |  June 23, 2010 at 1:29 am

      this is great info, Kevin.

      Reply
  • 3. rob walker  |  June 14, 2010 at 9:58 am

    a shallowness surpassed only by that of lazy journalists. It’s a grave situation.

    Reply
  • 4. rob walker  |  June 14, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I’m never really sure where I’m supposed to add my suggestion for Cliche of the week. Never mind.
    A personal favorite of mine has always been “Forward Planning.”
    What other kind of planning would there be? “Retrospective Planning” is considerably easier, but of dubious worth.

    Reply
  • 5. chrispash  |  June 14, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Please keep suggesting!
    ‘Forward planning’ is similar to ‘going forward’!

    Reply
  • 6. Joy Montgomery  |  June 14, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Apparently most killers are not project planners.

    Here’s another one – “It is what it is.”

    Reply
  • 7. George Bignell  |  June 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    There seems to be a “step change” in cliches used these days…..

    Reply
  • 8. Cliche of the Week 13 – Cut Through « Chris Pash  |  August 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    […] 22, 2010 Cutting through the clutter of politic-speak feels like digging a shallow grave with a laser […]

    Reply
  • 9. Cliche of the Week 23 – Broad Daylight « Chris Pash  |  October 31, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    […] Used 500 times a week in mainstream journalism, “broad daylight” sits high on the crime reporter’s must-have cliche sheet, along with “fled the scene“, “getaway car” and “shallow grave“. […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 40 other followers

The Last Whale book

Recent Posts


%d bloggers like this: